Victor Gourevitch, "Philosophy and Politics I," Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Sep. 1968). Victor Gourevitch, "Philosophy and Politics I," Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Dec. 1968).
On the face of it, On Tyranny is a straightforward commentary on Xenophon’s dialogue Hiero or Tyrannicus. As such it is a very model of thoroughness and learning. It amply repays careful study, and it goes a long way toward explaining Strauss’s influence in training a generation of scholars. The dialogue proper takes up just under 20 pages. Its analysis runs to 90-odd pages, followed by another 30 pages of tightly packed notes that are largely devoted to parallels between the Hiero, Xenophon’s teaching as a whole, and the teachings of Plato, of Aristotle and, to a lesser extent, of Cicero. What at first appears as an exercise in textual analysis soon reveals itself as a much broader undertaking: the delineation of the main features of classical political philosophy. Strauss does not mean to deny that differences in perspective, procedure, and even conclusions separate the major representatives of classical political philosophy. He does want to maintain, however, that their agreements are more fundamental than are their differences.